2020 Lexus NX Series vs. 2020 GMC Terrain

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

© 1999 - 2020 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2020/06/02

The NX Series’ optional pre-crash front seatbelts will tighten automatically in the event the vehicle detects an impending crash, improving protection against injury significantly. The Terrain doesn’t offer pre-crash pretensioners.

For enhanced safety, the front seat shoulder belts of the Lexus NX Series are height-adjustable to accommodate a wide variety of driver and passenger heights. A better fit can prevent injuries and the increased comfort also encourages passengers to buckle up. The GMC Terrain doesn’t offer height-adjustable front seat belts.

The NX Series has standard Whiplash Injury Lessening Seats, which use a specially designed headrest to protect the driver and front passenger from whiplash. During a rear-end collision, the Whiplash Injury Lessening Seats system moves the headrests forward to prevent neck and spine injuries. The Terrain doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.

Over 200 people are killed each year when backed over by motor vehicles. The NX Series offers an optional Intuitive Parking Assist with Automatic Braking that use rear sensors to monitor and automatically apply the brakes to prevent a rear collision. The Terrain doesn’t offer backup collision prevention brakes.

The NX Series’ driver alert monitor detects an inattentive driver then sounds a warning and suggests a break. According to the NHTSA, drivers who fall asleep cause about 100,000 crashes and 1500 deaths a year. The Terrain doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

Both the NX Series and the Terrain have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, lane departure warning systems, rearview cameras, available all-wheel drive, blind spot warning systems, around view monitors and rear cross-path warning.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does side impact tests on new vehicles. In this test, which crashes the vehicle into a flat barrier at 38.5 MPH, results indicate that the Lexus NX Series is safer than the GMC Terrain:

NX Series

Terrain

Front Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Chest Movement

.6 inches

1.1 inches

Abdominal Force

148 G’s

195 G’s

Hip Force

352 lbs.

357 lbs.

Rear Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Spine Acceleration

49 G’s

55 G’s

Hip Force

303 lbs.

630 lbs.

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

For its top level performance in IIHS driver and passenger-side small overlap frontal, moderate overlap frontal, side impact, roof strength and head restraint tests, its standard vehicle-to-vehicle front crash prevention system, its standard vehicle-to-pedestrian front crash prevention system, and its standard headlight’s “Good” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the NX Series its highest rating: “Top Pick Plus” for 2020, a rating granted to only 30 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The Terrain last would have qualified as only a standard “Top Pick” in 2017.

Warranty

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The NX Series comes with a full 4-year/50,000-mile basic warranty, which covers the entire truck and includes 24-hour roadside assistance. The Terrain’s 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty expires 1 year and 14,000 miles sooner.

Lexus’ powertrain warranty covers the NX Series 1 year and 10,000 miles longer than GMC covers the Terrain. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 6 years or 70,000 miles. Coverage on the Terrain ends after only 5 years or 60,000 miles.

The NX Series’ 6 year corrosion warranty has no mileage limitations, but the corrosion warranty on the Terrain runs out after 100,000 miles.

Reliability

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A reliable vehicle saves its owner time, money and trouble. Nobody wants to be stranded or have to be without a vehicle while it’s being repaired. Consumer Reports rates the NX Series’ reliability 24 points higher than the Terrain.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Lexus vehicles are better in initial quality than GMC vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Lexus 8th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 4 more problems per 100 vehicles, GMC is ranked 12th, below the industry average.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Lexus vehicles are more reliable than GMC vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Lexus first in reliability, above the industry average. With 55 more problems per 100 vehicles, GMC is ranked 22nd.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2019 Auto Issue reports that Lexus vehicles are more reliable than GMC vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Lexus first in reliability. GMC is ranked 22nd.

Engine

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The NX 300h’s standard 2.5 DOHC 4-cylinder hybrid produces 24 more horsepower (194 vs. 170) than the Terrain’s standard 1.5 turbo 4-cylinder.

Fuel Economy and Range

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On the EPA test cycle the NX 300h gets better fuel mileage than the Terrain AWD (33 city/30 hwy vs. 25 city/28 hwy).

On the EPA test cycle the NX 300 F Sport AWD gets better fuel mileage than the Terrain AWD 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. (22 city/27 hwy vs. 21 city/26 hwy).

Regenerative brakes improve the NX Series 300h’s fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. The Terrain doesn’t offer a regenerative braking system.

Transmission

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The NX 300h has a standard continuously variable transmission (CVT). With no “steps” between gears, it can keep the engine at the most efficient speed for fuel economy, or keep it at its peak horsepower indefinitely for maximum acceleration. The Terrain doesn’t offer a CVT.

Brakes and Stopping

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For better stopping power the NX Series’ front brake rotors are larger than those on the Terrain:

NX Series

Terrain 1.5T

Terrain 2.0T

Front Rotors

12.9 inches

11.8 inches

12.6 inches

The NX Series stops much shorter than the Terrain:

NX Series

Terrain

60 to 0 MPH

115 feet

130 feet

Motor Trend

Suspension and Handling

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The NX Series has standard front and rear stabilizer bars, which help keep the NX Series flat and controlled during cornering. The Terrain’s suspension doesn’t offer a rear stabilizer bar.

The NX Series offers an optional driver-adjustable suspension system. It allows the driver to choose between an extra-supple ride, reducing fatigue on long trips, or a sport setting, which allows maximum control for tricky roads or off-road. The Terrain’s suspension doesn’t offer adjustable shock absorbers.

The NX 300h AWD handles at .80 G’s, while the Terrain Denali AWD pulls only .79 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

Passenger Space

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The NX Series has 1.9 inches more front legroom, .7 inches more front hip room, .1 inches more front shoulder room and 2.1 inches more rear hip room than the Terrain.

Cargo Capacity

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A standard locking glovebox (which can’t be accessed with the valet key) keeps your small valuables safer in the NX Series. The Terrain doesn’t offer locking storage for small valuables.

Servicing Ease

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The NX Series uses gas struts to support the hood for easier service access. The Terrain uses a prop rod to support its heavy hood. It takes two hands to open the hood and set the prop rod, the prop rod gets in the way during maintenance and service, and the prop rod could be knocked out, causing the heavy hood to fall on the person maintaining or servicing the car.

J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Lexus service is better than GMC. J.D. Power ranks Lexus second in service department satisfaction. With a 41% lower rating, GMC is ranked 14th.

Ergonomics

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The NX Series’ front and rear power windows all open or close with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside of the car. The Terrain’s passenger windows don’t close automatically.

If the windows are left open on the NX Series the driver can close them all at the outside door handle. On a hot day the driver can lower the windows at the outside door handle or from a distance using the keyless remote. (This window function must be activated by your Lexus service department.) The driver of the Terrain can only close the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

The NX Series’ optional wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically according to the amount of rainfall on the windshield. The Terrain’s manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) conducts detailed tests on headlights for their range both straight ahead and in curves and to be certain they don’t exceed acceptable amounts of glare to oncoming drivers. The NX Series’ headlights were rated “Good” by the IIHS, while the Terrain’s headlights are rated “Poor.”

To help drivers avoid possible obstacles, the NX Series F Sport has standard cornering lights to illuminate around corners when the turn signals are activated. The Terrain doesn’t offer cornering lights. The NX Series also offers optional adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle.

The NX Series has a standard dual zone air conditioning allows the driver and front passenger to choose two completely different temperatures so people with different temperature preferences won’t have to compromise. This makes both the driver and front passenger as comfortable as possible. Dual zone air conditioning costs extra on the Terrain and isn’t available on the Terrain SL.

The NX Series’ standard automatic temperature control maintains the temperature you set, automatically controlling fan speed, vents and temperature to maintain a consistent, comfortable environment. The Terrain SL doesn’t offer automatic air conditioning.

The NX Series’ available GPS navigation system has a real-time traffic update feature that plots alternative routes to automatically bypass traffic problems. (Service not available in all areas.) The Terrain’s available navigation system doesn’t offer real-time traffic updates.

Economic Advantages

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Insurance will cost less for the NX Series owner. The Car Book by Jack Gillis rates the NX Series with a number “5” insurance rate while the Terrain is rated higher at a number “10” rate.

The NX Series will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. The IntelliChoice estimates that the NX Series will retain 50.95% to 51.77% of its original price after five years, while the Terrain only retains 36.82% to 45.76%.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the NX Series is less expensive to operate than the Terrain because typical repairs cost much less on the NX Series than the Terrain, including $200 less for a muffler, $170 less for front brake pads, $244 less for a fuel pump and $260 less for a power steering pump.

Recommendations

© 1999 - 2020 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2020/06/02

Consumer Reports® recommends the Lexus NX Series, based on reliability, safety and performance. The GMC Terrain isn't recommended.

© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.

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